It doesn’t happen often, and maybe that’s a good thing. After all, if every time you picked up a book and read half a dozen pages—if every time that happened you just knew your life would never be the same—you’d have to stop reading. Our lives can’t shift that often or drastically without causing emotional chaos.
That’s kind of where I am today—in the middle of emotional chaos.
And I kind of did it to myself.
See, I saw this book a few months back. I read the synopsis. A truer statement would be that I breathed it into my soul and I knew. This would be one of those books. You know, those ones that change your life.
The ones where it’s never the same again?
At that point, I had a decision. One could say that I had a choice. I could “check my bags” and hop on the flight to this tour—go along for the ride, as it were. Or, I could just grab onto those bags and hoof it down the road.
I chose the book. I chose the tour. And yes, I chose well.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book and chose to share what I thought of it.
Why You Need To Let Go of All the Baggage in Your Life
“Personal baggage.” We hear the phrase bandied about on TV talk shows, podcasts, in break rooms and at MOPS meetings. The ubiquitous words mock us in our social media-driven desire to appear to have it all together even when we, and everyone around us, knows better.
We bemoan the ridiculousness of carting around that baggage, but we still carry it. Day in. Day out. Always.
David Rawlings has taken that simple truth and woven it into a story so complex, so deep, that it had to be told through the life of a simple man offering to do what only One has ever done—handle our baggage. If we’ll let Him. If we’ll give it to Him.
So why don’t we? Why do we choose to hold onto it? Among the pages of The Baggage Handler, you see through the lives of the characters within, why we hold on, why we hold back, why we refuse to give up this unwanted, unneeded, unwelcome baggage.
We see why we should throw off our Elsa gloves, fling back our arms, and “Let it [all] go.”
And it all starts with one man—one very selfless, Divine man. Our very own Baggage Handler.
One could argue that the book is “predictable” It is. We know, from the beginning, mostly what will happen. We can guess who will listen, who will find it harder to see, what each person’s actual baggage is. However, I contend that this is one of the strengths of this book. Because our focus is never taken away from the expected, the true point of the book hits home even stronger and harder than it would have if we’d been left guessing our way through. Sometimes the expected is the strongest and most beautiful of all.
Rawlings planted a seed in me—maybe one he didn’t mean to. See, he never says this in the book, but I can’t get the thought out of my head. Aside from the futility of us carrying around baggage that does us no good, there are other reasons we should turn over our own baggage to the Baggage Handler.
That “one anothering” thing. We can help others better when we’re not weighed down with our own cares. It’s hard to serve someone when your hands are full of unwanted, unneeded, burdensome stuff.
That right there is an irony of this book that I do think was deliberate. Because see. It’s a heavy topic. The weight of our baggage? That’s a heavy, heavy, topic!
But this isn’t a heavy book. As if Rawlings took Jesus’ words to heart as he crafted a Baggage Handler something like Jesus might be, he kept the burden and weight of this book easy and light. That takes some serious writing skills there, folks.
And the book doesn’t read like a book written by someone “wielding skills” like a sword. It reads like someone offering a helping hand—taking away the burden.
Again, that’s why we need to let go of the baggage in our lives.
So we can help folks along… help them find the Baggage Handler.
The Baggage Handler is recommended… well, for anyone. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from it. Written as an allegory, it’s so subtle, that even someone antagonistic to Jesus would allow its truths to seep in.
Look, we all know I don’t like preachy books, but I do like my Bible solidly placed when it should be. So I wondered why I wasn’t bothered those Scriptures weren’t there in all of their Biblical glory. And then it hit me. Sometimes we preach the gospel with other words and through those other words, people are drawn to the Word.
That’s exactly what Rawlings did.
I almost said I didn’t recommend this book for people who want to be crushed by the weight of their baggage, but that’s ridiculous. If anything, they need it most.
Just as I knew it would, The Baggage Handler changed my life. It inspired and encouraged me, yes. But it also ripped off the old, nasty bandages that I’d allowed to sit around and poison me. It washed the wounds clean with subtle reminders of what Scripture says (without actually using the Bible) and left them open so fresh air could form the necessary scabs to healing.
All I can do at this point is to say thanks. Thank you, Mr. Rawlings. Thanks for a painful, beautiful, simple, deep, light book that just topped my 2019 favorite books list.